Product liability is the area of law in which manufacturers, distributors, suppliers, retailers, and others who make products available to the public are held responsible for the injuries those products cause. A mass tort is a lawsuit, usually as a result of a defective product, involving numerous plaintiffs against one or a few corporate defendants in state or federal court. Product liability, mass tort, class actions and consumer protection statute claims can have potentially devastating consequences to a company. In addition to the potential economic losses and other sanctions that can be the direct result of a plaintiff victory, social media and traditional news coverage can amplify the effect and result in loss of consumer confidence, weakening of once-powerful brand identities, falling sales, and sinking employee morale. Likewise, a defective product or drug that is marketed nationally or internationally has the potential to do tremendous harm to the public.
The significance of product liability and mass torts have led lawyers to pay special attention to this practice area. The areas of focus within this practice area include:
- General business counseling
- Mediation and arbitration
- Lobbying and legislation
- Regulatory and licensing
- Warnings and labels
- Public relations and media management